Print on demand for journals?
July 5, 2010 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Print-on-demand for academic journal: does such a thing exist?

I am editing a journal that has subscribers all around the world. Right now we get a professional printer to produce all hard copies locally, which we then mail individually to each subscriber. I am thinking there must be some form of print-on-demand for journals, which would allow to upload a pdf, print a specific number of copies, and then it would mass mail to all subscribers, plus giving the possibility to eventually print and mail earlier issues. I've looked at MagCloud but they seem quite expensive ($0.20/page) and I think they only ship to Canada, USA, UK (I need most European countries, South America and Australia as well). Any other options I haven't encountered?
posted by ddaavviidd to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
I think the thing you want to do here is contract with one of the major academic periodical publishers to do the printing and mailing for you. This is very common, and need not result in high individual subscription rates.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 AM on July 5, 2010

Wiley-Blackwell may be an option?
posted by gudrun at 10:15 AM on July 5, 2010

Technically, print on demand refers to digital printers who work with a distribution network to ship to usually either retail or individual customers. If the shipping is handled by you or a third party, that wouldn't be true POD, though it would still be digital printing. It would then be called SRDP (Short Run Digital Printing). If you utilized POD for shipping to each individual customer, then all the savings to be had by mailing the issues in batches is lost. Your per issue mailing cost increases pretty significantly. Maybe three or four fold. You'd pay $3 or $4 dollars per issue, maybe more, as opposed to $1 for domestic, and maybe $2 or $3 for foreign, with the savings coming primarily from pre-sorting, and the USPS's price breaks for serials.

Now if you're looking for someone to take over the production and distribution of your journal, while you maintain editorial control, there are all sorts of options. For the humanities, you ought to consider a university press. Contact me via memail and if you could tell me more about the size of the subscriber base, and the journal's focus, I'd be willing to offer referrals. If it's in the sciences, I would ask which is more important to your mission, revenue or dissemination? If it's dissemination, you ought to consider Open Access. If it's revenue, I would look at finding replacement revenue streams and then consider Open Access. But I digress.

Anyway, there are lot's of POD options available for almost any type of content. The question I would ask first is how much can we or should we pay to handle the production and distribution of our journal. POD would be very competitive in production costs, but not in distribution costs.
posted by Toekneesan at 11:18 AM on July 5, 2010

Try - it's not just for academic works, but might work well for your needs. It's affiliated with It's how I published my first book :)
posted by chrisinseoul at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2010

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